Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Retired General's View

I've watched McCaffrey over the years, and have found his willingness to use blunt honesty refreshing.  He's at it again.
[H]is bottom line is that the U.S. military is in "strategic peril" -- a sharp contrast to his previous views. In 2005, he concluded in a similar report that "momentum is now clearly with the Iraqi government and coalition security forces." In a 2006 assessment, he wrote: "It was very encouraging for me to see the progress achieved in the past year."
[He] is especially critical of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It is "despised" by the Sunnis, he writes, is seen as "untrustworthy and incompetent" by the Kurds, and now enjoys "little credibility among the Shia populations from which it emerged."

The government lacks dominance in every province, he added. One result is that "no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign NGO [nongovernmental organization], nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, nor Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi, without heavily armed protection."

McCaffrey is gloomy about the continuing strength of the insurgency. At this point, he said, about 27,000 fighters are being held, and at least 20,000 others have been killed, yet enemy combatants continue to produce new leaders and foot soldiers. The result, five years into the war, he said, is that "their sophistication, numbers and lethality go up -- not down -- as they incur these staggering battle losses."

This is the opinion of someone with expertise, and with no vested interest.  His views run directly contrary to the recent statements by the White House and Sen. McCain (who appears to have given up on his 'Straight Talk Express' method of campaigning) that the 'Surge' is yielding positive results.
The House and Senate have eached passed Iraq War spending measures that include a timetable for withdrawl.  Americans should rally behind these measures, and opposed the President's threatened veto. 
It is time to bring this sad chapter in American history to an end.

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